Many challenges lie ahead for Asean in the year ahead. Security concerns will be characterised by heightened tensions in the South China Sea as the dispute remains unresolved. China has not been shy in asserting its interests in the territories it disputes with Asean countries and Japan.
Next, uncertainty over the global economy will be characterised by the rise of Asia, the slow recovery of the US and the ongoing eurozone debt crisis. Lastly, the worsening effects of climate change will be more apparent as Thailand withstood 2011's flooding, while the Philippines is still reeling from Typhoon Bopha.
Asean countries stand a greater chance of success if they face these challenges together. What is clear is that these forces will be testing the region's political economy. Only through cooperation can member states become more resilient against external pressures and shocks.
This article is older than 60 days, which we reserve for our premium members only.You can subscribe to our premium member subscription, here.